ASTRO member Moonbin was found dead in his home in southern Seoul by his manager on Wednesday night, reports CNN. His death has sent shockwaves through the K-pop industry and its global fans alike, with many taking to Twitter to express their grief and shock.
"the moon met the stars"
— Eli 🌙 (@elieuijoo) April 19, 2023
Everything that Aroha Chile did was very nice, very organized and calm, I would have liked to have hugged someone or someone who would hug me but I couldn't! I felt very bad and I didn't want the others to worry
— Alvaro (@atenialva_huhu9) April 20, 2023
Fantagio, the music label that represents him, confirmed the death on Thursday, saying he has “suddenly left us and became a star in the sky.”
“All ASTRO members, Fantagio colleagues, executives and employees who’ve been together for a long time are deeply mourning the deceased in such great sadness and shock,” the music label said in a statement they released on Twitter.
‘No Foul Play’ says Police
As per Gangnam police officials who spoke to CNN, the authorities believe Moon Bin had taken his own life. “No signs of foul play have been found related to this case,” police emphasized. According to South Korean outlets, they have also said: “We are currently discussing the possibility of an autopsy to determine the precise cause of death.”
— Sundeep | #FXCKMYLIFE (@sundeep2413) April 19, 2023
If so, it wouldn’t be the first time the K-pop world had seen such a tragedy. Several K-pop idols have passed away due to suicide since 2015 such as Kim Jong-hyun, Sulli and Goo Hara.
Kim Jong-hyun, the incredibly gifted singer-songwriter for the renowned group SHINee, passed away on December 18, 2017. The vivacious and talented Sulli, from the girl group f(x), died on October 14, 2019. It was reported she endured severe scrutiny and cyber bullying. Goo Hara, a cherished member of the girl group KARA, faced numerous personal and professional challenges that were often exacerbated by the media and public. Her passing on November 24, 2019, underscored the urgent need for mental health support for those in the entertainment industry. Their stories are stark reminders of the intense pressures that idols face in the industry.
Mental Health in K-Pop Industry
The pressure on K-Pop artists begins even before their debut, as they undergo years of intense training, which often involves long hours, strict diets, and limited personal lives. Once they debut, the demands only intensify, with idols expected to maintain a flawless image and consistently deliver exceptional performances. This pressure to be perfect not only comes from their agencies but also from fans and the general public, with social media playing a significant role in magnifying criticism and scrutiny.
The demanding nature of the K-Pop industry can take a toll on an idol’s mental health. High levels of stress, anxiety, and depression are not uncommon.
In recent years, there has been growing awareness and concern about mental health in the K-Pop industry. Some idols have chosen to openly discuss their struggles, destigmatizing mental health issues and encouraging fans to prioritize their well-being. Moon Bin was one of them – he had openly discussed his struggles with anxiety to various media outlets. In 2019, Moonbin shared with Korean outlet Newsen that he has suffered from anxiety since he was young and took medication to manage his symptoms.
He was also not shy of taking mental health breaks. In December 2019, he went on a hiatus. Fantagio released a statement on behalf of the singer: “We ask for your understanding in the decision to temporarily suspend activities for healthier activities in the future and we promise to provide unsparing support and do our best to help Moonbin recover his health.”
Agencies these days are increasingly recognizing the need to provide better support for their artists, including offering mental health resources and allowing for breaks when needed. These heart-wrenching incidents show how essential it is in fostering an environment where artists can thrive both professionally and personally.
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